Didier Drogba is still not yet ready to return to match action for the Montreal Impact due to a lingering back injury, and will miss out on Sunday's 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs clash vs. the New York Red Bulls.
The veteran striker took to Twitter late Saturday night to confirm that his balky back has not improved sufficiently to be part of Montreal's gameday roster as they host the Red Bulls in the first leg of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series at Stade Saputo (3 pm ET, ESPN, RDS1, TSNGO). Goal.com reported that Drogba did not take part in the opening stages of Friday's Impact training session that were open to media.
“Very disappointed not to be part of the team because of this damn back pain,” read the Ivorian star's tweet, adding that IMFC need the Ultras Montreal supporters group “to bring the [fire]” as the underdog Impact try to seize an early advantage on short rest against the No. 1 seed in the East.
Drogba netted 10 goals and six assists in 22 games (18 starts) this season. But the Impact have prospered in his absence, going 3-7-8 in matches he started and racking up a 9-4-4 record in those he didn't, including Thursday's 4-2 destruction of D.C. United in the Knockout Round, the most surprising result of the postseason to date.
Drogba has been displaced in the lineup by midseason arrival Matteo Mancosu, and the Italian was one of the brightest stars of Thursday's win, bagging two goals and an assist at RFK Stadium. Mancosu has now notched five goals and five assists overall in 16 games (eight starts) since joining Montreal on loan from Bologna FC in July.
Drogba attended the victory over D.C. and hailed his teammates in the locker room afterwards, affirming his commitment to the team despite the kerfuffle over his frustration with a reserve role in the Impact's 2-2 home draw with Toronto on Oct. 16.